Translation is a Balancing Act - Multilingual Connections

Translation is a Balancing Act

balancing stack of stones
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Topic: Our Talent


At Multilingual Connections, we leverage our linguists’ talents and expertise and pair each project with the best linguist for the job, taking into consideration their native language, region, and area(s) of expertise. Linguistic accuracy and cultural relevance for translation often require our linguists to do extra research to better understand the full context of the source text. We reward the linguists who go above and beyond and recognize one “Linguist of the Month” based on their exceptional quality, reliability, and their general amazingness. 

This time, we are excited to feature MLC’s Linguist of the Month, Kris. Since joining our linguist team more than two years ago, Kris has done an excellent job in Korean <> English translation work on a variety of projects ranging from legal to hospitality fields.

Here are a few interesting facts about Kris:

Kristie Chung

Where are you from? Where do you live?  

I was born and raised in South Korea. When I was 14, I moved to the U.S. and grew up in Seattle, WA. Now I live in Boston, MA. It’s wicked cold here! (Bostonians love adding the word ‘wicked’ whenever possible- it means ‘very’).

Besides English, what languages do you speak and/or translate?

I only speak Korean but I am a programmer and speak a few programming languages. Has anyone heard about Python?

Why and how did you become a translator?

My cousin in Korea asked me to translate his thesis into English so he can publish his work. I had never translated in my life and I spent three days translating 2,000 words. Then he introduced me to his graduate school cohorts and within a month I translated four academic papers. It was not a bad start for a novice translator and I have been learning and translating ever since. 

What is something you love about translation?

Translation is a balancing act. As a translator, you try to find the right balance between accuracy and beauty. It is negotiating between the author and the reader, between two languages, and between two different cultures, as Umberto Eco said. You know you will never have the perfect translation but you will try to make it as close as possible. It is about finding the lost words inside you and I enjoy the moment I discover that word I have been looking for. It introduces you to many worlds that you may have never been to before.

What do you like to do outside of work? 

Whenever I have a chance, I go outside for a walk with my two dogs. I also love reading any day of the week. I buy way more books than I can read so I should say I love collecting books. When my brain refuses to think, I either bake in the kitchen (too many epic failures already) or binge-watch movies on Netflix. I must have a hundred movies on my list to watch.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Many years ago, I had a chance to volunteer and travel to Rwanda to help people suffering from hunger. Many children I met there were just like children in any other part of the world. They were full of dreams and hopes- they wanted to become doctors, teachers, scientists. They wanted to be transformed and believed they could make this world a better place. It was a humbling experience and I can never forget those eyes full of hope. It changed how I think of travel and view this world. I would love to go back to Rwanda and teach those kids computer science if possible.

What is your motto or personal mantra?

I love the quote from Terry Tempest Williams: “Finding beauty in a broken world is creating beauty in the world we find.”

We thank Kris for being such a great part of our linguist team. Stay tuned for more behind the scenes updates from Multilingual Connections!

Want to stay connected?

We periodically share news and updates around translation, language and culture. Rest assured we’ll never share your contact information with anyone!